Rockfax Description
IV, 850m, 10 - 12 hours. One of the most famous climbs in Chamonix, taking one the area's finest lines - this is understandably a much sought after route. It is often underestimated and no matter how long you expect it to be, it will feel longer! For a fit, acclimatised and efficient team this should provide one of the best climbing experiences out there. Some of the belays are bolted and there is a lot of fixed protection, but take a full rack. The route finding, particularly in the upper section, is not obvious.
1) 6b. The route used to begin to the right of the toe of the buttress but glacial recession has meant that there is now an additional (very difficult) pitch to climb and the approach couloir is often prone to rockfall. Instead, start at the toe of the rock and climb with difficulty to reach the crest of the pillar, or just off to the side of it. Follow this more easily for 80m until level with the snow ramp which branches off to the Supercouloir.
2) Two straightforward but enjoyable pitches follow on, or just to right of, the rocky ridge crest. This leads to the foot of more steep climbing.
3) 10m to the left of the crest of the spur is a long chimney system. Follow this for 150m, the last 20m of which is up superb and steep parallel cracks, leading to a belay ledge just on the right side of the spur, 20m below a bright orange triangular prow of rock.
4) 5c/A0. Climb on the right side of the spur for 15m until this steepens significantly just below the triangle of rock. Aid up the crack on pegs (this is quite a workout with a rucksack on) to a belay. A a long 5c pitch above this regains the crest of the spur at a small pinnacle. Downclimb from this to a notch and traverse 5m left to reach the foot of the 70m chimney.
5) 5a. Climb this in two superb pitches (4c then 5a) and emerge onto an often snowy ledge to the left of the spur.
6) 5c. Follow the right-leaning corner-crack for two pitches (4c and 5c) to a ledge on the shady right-hand side of the spur.
7) Stay on the right-hand side of the spur and climb three mixed pitches up a loose ramp, heading rightwards for a notch between two pillars (much safer and easier with good snow coverage). Having reached the notch, continue to a second chimney straight ahead.
8) 5b. 40m of 4c climbing up the chimney takes you almost to the end of the pillar. A short pitch on the south side brings you to the top. Make a 20m abseil down the pillar's south face to a platform overlooking a couloir. Opposite the line of the abseil is a chimney system taking you back up to the same height as the abseil station, but on the opposite side of the gully. Climb the left-hand chimney crack (5b, 40m). From here, traverse into the broad gully system, which should be full of firm snow.
9) Climb the snow/mixed ground until it steepens and splits after 200m.
9a) 5c. If the mixed ground is completely dry it is extremely prone to rockfall and too dangerous to climb. In this case you will need to climb the Red Tower via some tough climbing. To do this, climb an icy and difficult cracks and corners to the right of crest before coming back onto the crest at a large ledge with a small cairn on. Climb a slab followed by a crack (5c) which leads to a notch just to the right of the top of the Red Tower. Reach the top via easier scrambling and mixed climbing.
10) Take the right-hand branch and follow this over 100m of mixed terrain.
11) 4c. A final 4c rock pitch leads to the notch left of the Red Tower. Climb mixed terrain for 100m then rejoin the ridge, passing right of numerous pillars. Finally follow the rock crest for few pitches (up to 4c) to a snow slope which takes you onto the summit of the Tacul itself.
Descent - The route finishes on the summit so you will need to carry your boots, crampons and axe up the route. © Rockfax

Ticklists: Rebuffat's 100 Finest Routes in the Mont Blanc Massif, ROCKFAX Chamonix: Top 50, Alpine Grande Courses, Euro Alpine Rock.

LJC 16/Jul/17 AltLd

Started climbing 05:30, at the top at 16:50. Slow detour around the dry mixed section climbing the left hand side of Tour Rouge. Cold on the shady side of the ridge!

with Tim
Timothy Miller 16/Jul/17 AltLd O/S

Started climbing at 5.30 and on the summit for 16.50. The chossy gully slowed us down quite a bit as we pitched up the side of the red tower. The mixed pitches on the north side of the ridge were also freezing. Great route

with Luca
Climbingspike ??/2017 -
Misha 23/Aug/16 AltLd O/S

Long! Left the Perroux bivvy at 4.20am, started climbing 5.45am, finished the rock climbing 6.45pm, back to Perroux just after 9pm (was super slow on the descent (1.5hrs) due to dehydration and altitude - only the third day up high; climbing was ok but had to stop for breathers towards the top). So 13 hours for the route and 17 hour day overall. Descended to Cham the following mornin. Just as well we reccied the route the day before as initially went to the wrong bit of the Tacul East Face! Also useful to locate the first pitch. We started up a tricky crack running up from the very toe of the buttress and finishing at a single bolt belay. The climbing is fairly sustained at VS - HVS, with some 5b sections (at least the way we did it). Managed to free the aid pitch after stepping in a sling off the first peg to get past the initial blank section - hard to grade with a sack at altitude but felt like trad 6a moves, very safe though with a row of pegs. Only did it as thought it would be easier than carrying on aiding - it wasn't! Apparently that pitch can be bypassed on the left. Some good climbing but some of it was so-so. A couple of pitches on the right side of the Pillar were very snowy but just about doable in rock shoes. The gully left of the Red Tower was a total chossfest, plus we got two volleys of microwave sized and smaller blocks coming off the ridge above. Fortunately only got hit by a couple of small ones, helmet won't have helped against the bigger ones... Changed into big boots at the foot of the chossy gully and managed to rock hop the mixed section on the ridge above without crampons (if we'd known there was no real mixed climbing on the route, would have taken ski touring crampons and axe). Did the final rock ridge in two pitches, again in big boots which was ok. Happy to see the summit snow slope! A good Alpine experience but won't be in a rush to repeat it and if I ever do, I'd do it early season when the choss gully is mixed or take the Red Tower variation. Single 60m rope, set of nuts and two sets of cams up to BD red plus one BD yellow worked well. Moved together a fair bit but also pitched a lot. Best topos are the narrative one on Tim Oliver's website and the Italian hand drawn one on camptocamp - don't bother with Piola's!

davkeo 23/Aug/16 AltLd O/S

13hrs climbing. 16hrs hut to hut (peroux bivi). Started p1 at 5.45. Moved together for a lot and pitched a lot of it too. Sustained hvs which feels harder with full packs. Went onto slightly harder stuff too at times but the route finding was mostly ok. Misha did first aid section (which we found out later is climbed easier on the left) which was well ard. I did 2nd aid bit which was actually fine to climb. 2 pitches after that were mixed icy stuff in the shade and quite miserable. Chossy couloir was an absolute death trap. 2 significant rockfalls just about missed us (except for an impact on my left shoulder) & the whole section had that seat of ur pants feel. Looking up at the airborne stones on the 2nd rock fall I didnt fancy my chances much. Climbing on the first half was nice but not a route I'd rush back to. Longest hvs in the world possibly.

with Misha
feilx 14/Aug/16 AltLd

Moved together on the entire route, still took us 11 hours, great climbing that just keeps going and going.

with Niko
Hidden 13/Aug/16 AltLd
Rhys Macallister 13/Aug/16 AltLd
with suzana
piken 08/Aug/16 AltLd G/U

Grueling. 6.30 on the rock as the sun came up over the Dent de Geant. Toped out 2 ish then back down to collect the tent and catch the cable car down the midi.

with Andy
stuart34 12/Aug/15 AltLd
with pollerd
Hidden 12/Aug/15 Lead dnf
Paul Collins 03/Aug/15 AltLd

Long! 1200m from the bottom of the pillar to the top of the Tacul (800m for the rock pillar)

with Liam
liamo333 ?/Aug/15 -

Helluva route

Hidden 12/Jul/15 AltLd
alexm198 12/Jul/15 AltLd O/S

Pretty massive day but topping out at sunset seems par for the course on this one. Just over 15 hours for the actual route. Every time you think you're nearly there, there's another section of climbing to do! Route finding is quite tricky near the top.

Hidden ??/2015 -
Hidden ??/2015 -
Hidden ??/2014 -
HansStuttgart ?/Sep/13 -
guy757 29/Aug/13 -

Not completed too much snow on route

jcw ??/2013 -
Hidden 28/Aug/12 AltLd O/S
roberto18 28/Aug/12 AltLd

Dropped my rock shoe on 5th pitch so climbed with one shoe and one boot. Weather turned in, spent night 50m below the summit, still can't feel my feet!!

Tom Livingstone 08/Aug/12 AltLd O/S

could be the best HVS in the world? maybe!

Ollie B 08/Aug/12 AltLd O/S

My birthday :D

with T.Livinstone
Hidden 30/Aug/11 AltLd O/S
John Carney 02/Jul/11 Lead O/S
with Elsie L
Pete Graham ?/Aug/10 AltLd
with Howard Lawledge
Hidden 01/Aug/09 AltLd O/S
Niekolaas 16/Jul/09 AltLd O/S
with Jelle
hamish2016 ?/Jul/09 AltLd dnf

Too wet on 4th/5th pitch so abbed off

with Tom Ripley
Hidden 28/Jun/08 Lead
Grezza ?/Jul/07 AltLd

Best climbing in first half. 28 pitches. 12 hours. Great route

with Paul E
tom.e 22/Jul/06 -

10 hrs base to summit, got stormed on at the top

with Charlie Everett
reg_measures ?/Jul/06 AltLd O/S
with timmy elson
Nick Wallis ?/Jul/06 AltLd O/S

Caught in a storm near the top and Christian Trommsdorff warmed his hands in my crotch! (no joke)

with Martin Cooper
Hidden ?/Jun/05 AltLd O/S
sgl ?/Jun/05 -
with Jo B, Konnie
Dave Thompson ??/2005 AltLd O/S
with Gav Pike
Mark Stevenson 08/Aug/03 AltLd O/S
with Random Irish Chap
haydng ??/2000 AltLd O/S
Hidden 14/Sep/99 Lead
bobelvedere 24/Jul/99 AltLd
with Jan Mathorne
tompercy 19/Jul/95 AltLd
with Amos Preminger
Hidden ?/Jul/92 AltLd
pete johnson ?/Aug/91 -

Don't know what it's like now but back in 1991 it was a fabulous route.

with Pete Swanson
pingora ?/Aug/91 AltLd
Hidden ??/1991 AltLd
Tony Kartawick ?/Aug/90 -
with James Thomas
crossleysm ??/1990 AltLd
with Roger Lawson
mark-abz ?/Aug/88 AltLd
with Andy W
GaryK ?/Aug/87 AltLd O/S

A very long route, and you have to carry alpine boots all the way to the summit to get off. Worth it though. Take lots of water, or a stove, it's a long day.

with Cant remember
Lone Rider ??/1986 AltLd
John Marsland 17/Aug/85 -

11 hours

with Dave Soles
Neil McA 08/Jul/84 AltLd O/S

Second day of the trip, totally unaclimatised, hard work, dizzy and had a little puke near the top. great day out though!

with Andy Perkins
Hidden ??/1984 -
alpinist63 ??/1981 -
Hidden 05/Aug/80 Lead
mikej ?/Aug/70 AltLd dnf
with Pete Boardman
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